Handshake domains: Explained
Handshake is a peer-to-peer network using blockchain technology — like a secure public registry. It’s a new approach to domain name ownership. It means bypassing the traditional organizations and registries that call the shots online — offering you more freedom, control, and security over your domain.
You're also free to choose unique domain names that aren’t limited to .com, .org, .net, and other traditional domain extensions. But you’ll still have the data protection, privacy, and expert support you already get with Namecheap.
You are welcome to check the full list of the Handshake TLDs we support on this page
It's also important to note that handshake domains do not resolve in regular browsers without additional setup.
By default, HNS as a technology does not support or offer the concept of WHOIS. Ownership of a domain is linked to a blockchain key, not to a whois owner, so Whois Lookup does not return any results for Handshake domains.
How can I register my Handshake domain?
You may find your Handshake domain name right in our Domain Search. Just make sure to enable the HNS option there after you enter the desired domain name:
Add your domain to the Shopping Cart and proceed with the registration as for a regular domain:
After you complete the registration, you will be able to manage the domain in your Namecheap account in a regular way
However, please note that handshake domains cannot be resolved via regular web browsers without additional setup
. Please read the section below to learn how to access a handshake domain.
The incoming emails do not work for HNS domains.
No transfer in/out supported as we launch our own TLDs that are not supported by any other registrar at the moment.
DNSSEC is also not supported for HNS domains.
How to access a Handshake domain
As Handshake is right at the forefront of building a freer and more open internet, most browsers aren’t set up to navigate to HNS domains. Fortunately, there are simple ways to enable your browser or device to recognize and resolve these new domains.
Access your Handshake domain using one of the resolvers listed below. It’s an easy, free, and fast way to make sure your browser can navigate to any HNS domain.
NextDNS is a Domain Name System (DNS) service that can be used to access Handshake domains. Once you have this service set up on your device, go to your settings and turn on the option to "Resolve Handshake domains." Check out this video for step-by-step instructions.
Some VPN services also include an option to resolve Handshake domains. For example, some VPN users may be able to switch their selected name server to Handshake Naming System instead of the default domain name system. If you’re already a VPN user, check to see if this is an option your service provides.
3. HSD/HDNS node
The Handshake software’s full node (HSD) is a great option for managing a Handshake domain. HSD acts as a resolver and allows you to register, update, and transfer names or make blockchain payments. Another option is the software’s light client (HNSD), which is better suited to those who just want to be able to resolve Handshake names without using the computing power required to run the full node.
With HDNS, you can access Handshake websites directly in your browser using an encrypted DNS protocol, which helps to protect against DNS spying and tampering. This is a public resolver option, and there’s no signup process required. You’ll still be able to access regular sites as well, like Google, YouTube, etc. To use HDNS, you’ll need to change the DNS server settings on your computer. Simple, easy-to-follow instructions are provided
Simply enter your site address in the search bar at the top of the HNS.to page to access a Handshake domain. Alternatively, you can affix "hns.to/" directly before your site address. This easy, convenient option requires no changes to your current DNS settings.
6. Browser extensions
A number of developers have created browser extensions that allow users to access Handshake seamlessly. Options include Bob Wallet and
LinkFrame, both of which are available for Chrome. For Firefox, an add-on called Resolvr is available.
Developed by Impervious, Fingertip is an open-source, lightweight decentralized Handshake resolver. In addition to HNS, Fingertip also provides simple access to external namespaces like ENS. The menubar app is available for both Mac and Windows and is easy to set up by following this video tutorial.
How to renew/reactivate Handshake domains
Understanding the lifecycle of Handshake domains is vital for effective
To ensure the
uninterrupted availability and avoid unintended lapses of your Handshake domain name, please make sure to renew it before the expiration date. You are welcome to use the following guide: How can I renew my domain?
If the expiration date was missed for some reason, you can still renew the .creator,.elite, .ill, .oh, .oo, .oot, .orb, .p, .pgp, .saas,
domains within the 30-day period after expiration directly in your Namecheap account
. If you do not renew (reactivate) the domain within this grace period, it enters a redemption stage for 30 days (sometimes more) and can be restored only from our end
The rest of the HNS TLDs we support have no reactivation period and enter redemption for about 30 days right after expiration. Please contact our Support Team
if you want to restore domains from redemption.